Commisioned by

Cities & Memory



Composed, mixed and mastered in Spain for the project “Polar sounds”, Cities and Memory in association with The Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Helmholtz Institute for Functional Marine Biodiversity (HIFMB), and Ocean Acoustic Research Group at AWI.

Scientists have placed underwater microphones to record the audio from living species and geological processes in the Arctic and Antarctic. The aim is to highlight the impact in the regions due to the climate change.

Highlights album

“Initially I chose other field recordings but they were taken over by other composers. I thought that if a soundscape contained harmonic sounds it would have been easier or more inspiring. But then, already during the creation process, I found that even in the sound of dolphins’ teeth biting, there are small microtonal differences. Rhythms that suggest continuity, but change. Jazz. And there I started with an idea: to take that rhythms and those different heights, to achieve a work where the ambient sound is at the same gain as the instruments, and that works as a roadmap for the development. Harps, synthesizers, bells, voices, bass, strings, theremin, some percussion. Everything adapts and fits together like a puzzle, depending on the field recording. The beat definitely emulates the throat sounds of whales. The strongest part of the track is then assembled on this rhythm. A melting ice works as a snare drum and the voices copy the sound of the dolphins. They speak their language. Everything was assembled in Ableton Live, using some virtual instruments, but above all, the greatest work consisted in accentuating and accompanying at the same precise and exact time, each of the sounds expressed by the animals. At the end, the instrumentation game is revealed, being alone without the original track for a few seconds. The name “The frozen OASIS” is an anagram of the initial letters belonging to Odontocete Species And Sea Ice, and is used in two senses: oasis as a place to rest, to breathe, to reset. But also as a place in the desert. An alarm of what could happen even in the Arctic, if global warming continues.”

The frozen oasis

Video edited by Cristian Estrella with footages from Pixabay: Caelan Kelley, Andrea Spallanzani, Vimeo-Free-Videos, Osckar Espinosa, Azhar Hussain, Milan Wulf, FlickrVideos, Andreas, Jun, Агзам Гайсин, Bellergy RC, and Roberto D’Amico.


Explore the sounds in the players – each polar sound is accompanied by a composition using that recording as source material and inspiration.